Foot problems in diabetes mellitus – causes, stages of complications, treatment
Some diabetics suffer from foot diseases (diabetic foot). Typically, diabetes-affected legs are found in older people. Doctors recommend starting treatment immediately when symptoms appear, otherwise the situation only worsens, and the patient with diabetes risks remaining immobilized.
Lower limb problems in diabetics
There are several problems with the legs in people with diabetes mellitus for a long time:
- “Athletic foot”. The skin turns red and hardened from dryness. The fungus makes its way into the cracks and infections develop inside them.
- Nail fungus. The nail thickens at times, loses transparency, breaks off.
- A large number of corns .
- The presence of corns and blisters.
- Deformation of the joint on the thumb.
- Dry skin of the feet.
- Deformation of the fingers on the limbs.
- Ingrown nail plates.
- Warty formations in the sole of the foot.
Good foot care, constant examination and timely treatment help to avoid such symptoms.
Causes of leg lesions in diabetes mellitus
There are several main reasons due to which a person with diabetes mellitus suffers from pain in the affected lower extremities:
- The feet become less sensitive. Legs become numb and eventually stop feeling touches and even blows. This becomes the reason for the appearance of injuries and bruises. The patient’s legs also suffer from regular hypothermia or, conversely, overheating, which negatively affects the health of the body.
- Malfunction of the blood vessels. Blood circulation is gradually impaired as the vessels become clogged. As a result, the muscles are in dire need of the missing oxygen. At this stage, the person notices spots, discoloration of the skin, etc.
- The leg muscles atrophy. Feeling pain in the limbs, people limit their physical activity, often spend time sitting or lying down. For this reason, muscle tone is significantly reduced, pain sensations become stronger.
- The appearance of a large number of corns and calluses. Fungal infections are often added, which interfere with movement.
- Obesity in old age. The legs of diabetic patients begin to swell and hurt. All the load is shifted to the lower limbs, and excess weight is the cause of this problem.
- Having bad habits.
It should be borne in mind that ulcers and calluses of unknown origin on the soles of the feet of diabetics do not go away for a long time, which is why they are exposed to the penetration of infections or fungi. When this situation is neglected, the so-called diabetic foot syndrome appears.
Diabetic foot syndrome
This is an extremely unpleasant and serious complication of diabetes mellitus. The tissues of the lower extremities are subject to ulcerative lesions. Often the consequence is leg gangrene. There are several degrees of development and forms of this complication. In an advanced stage, an urgent amputation of the lower limb is possible. The following signs of a diabetic foot stand out:
- Gradually, the patient feels a decrease in sensitivity in the legs.
- Severe swelling in the leg area.
- Irregularities in the temperature of the feet, which become hot and cold.
- Severe fatigue in the lower limbs during movement and any other physical activity.
- Painful sensations in the lower leg in any position of the body.
- Unpleasant tingling and burning sensation in the foot.
- Change in the color of the leg.
- Hair loss on the legs is possible.
- Changes in the appearance of the toes as a result of the side effects of nail fungus.
- Wounds and minor mechanical damage to the skin are difficult to heal.
- Ulcerative lesions on the soles.
Many people suffering from diabetes symptoms wonder what to do to prevent diabetic foot. It is recommended to consult a specialist on an ongoing basis for checking and examining the legs. In addition to seeking help from specialists, you should regularly engage in self-examination using a mirror. There is a special risk group of patients with diabetes mellitus, who are most susceptible to the development of diabetic foot:
- sick for more than ten years;
- patients with erratic and irregular glucose levels;
- smoking people;
- diabetics who have had a stroke or heart attack;
- suffering from thrombosis;
- overweight people.
Stages of development of complications of diabetes on the legs
Six main stages of development of complications of diabetes mellitus in the lower extremities are recognized:
- Zero degree . There are no symptoms or signs indicating leg involvement. Feet healthy in appearance.
- First stage . There are small ulcers on the soles. No infection.
- Stage two . The ulcers deepen. Tissue damage begins in the muscles. A pronounced inflammatory process does not occur.
- Stage three . Penetration of ulcers into the depths of the skin and muscle tissue. The presence of light abscesses. The patient has serious discomfort from any movement. At this stage, people begin to move a little.
- Stage four . Bones become infected. Symptoms of gangrene appear. She touched the toes on the feet.
- Stage five . Here there is a complete defeat of the leg due to gangrene. The legs are rotting. The only way to save life is to amputate a limb.
Swelling of the feet
All patients with diabetes mellitus sooner or later begin to experience discomfort caused by swelling in the lower extremities. There are several reasons why this happens:
- being overweight;
- the patient does not adhere to the diet, poor quality of products;
- smoking tobacco;
- excessive alcohol consumption;
- the patient does not treat glycemia;
- too tight shoes;
- changes in metabolism;
- frequent stressful conditions;
- little physical activity;
- varicose veins .
The first bell, informing about the possible development of necrosis, is the edema of the legs. It is important not to miss the moment and start treatment. With tingling sensations, strong throbbing, frequent freezing of the feet, you need to go to the hospital for help. Neuropathy is usually a popular cause of edema .
Numbness in the legs
The following factors lead to numbness of the legs in diabetes mellitus:
- Interruptions in blood circulation occurring due to wearing narrow and uncomfortable shoes.
- Too serious physical activity, or its complete absence. The blood ceases to circulate fully.
- Diseases in the neurological part.
- Disorders in the body of an atherosclerotic nature.
Doctors suggest the following preventive measures for numbness:
- Pay serious attention to the condition of the feet and nails. Do not root your nails.
- Self-examine the gap between the fingers for fungal infections.
- If swelling is not present, massage the legs using a massager .
Numbness is common in type 2 diabetes. It is important to buy comfortable shoes of the required size, use a pumice stone to get rid of corns.
Red spots on the legs
A common complication in the development of diabetes is the appearance of red spots on the lower extremities. Reasons for the appearance of red spots:
- interruptions in the work of metabolic processes;
- disturbed metabolism, the consequence of which is an inflammatory process in the skin;
- damage to the epidermis by various kinds of infections and multiplying microbes;
- allergic manifestations.
Preventive measures are no different from those for numbness and swelling. Don’t buy perfumed cleansers.
Erysipelas is considered a similar externally phenomenon, the cause of which is recognized as streptococcus.
Diabetics are also found with symptoms such as the formation of trophic ulcers. Ulcers form gradually, deepening and penetrating into the tissue. Reasons for the appearance:
- change in gait;
- excess body weight;
- low mobility;
- increased blood sugar levels;
- the effect of drugs;
- genetic reasons;
- stagnant blood clots in the venous vessels.
Distinctive step-by-step signs of a trophic ulcer at the first stage of the lesion:
- swollen legs, a feeling of heaviness in the calf area;
- night cramps;
- limbs itch and itch;
- a pattern of the venous mesh appears, after which it turns into specks and darkens;
- the sore spot increases in size, secretes fluid;
- ulcerative lesions of the skin are formed;
- the wound deepens;
- the ulcer vigorously secretes pus and fluid.
The edges of these ulcers are uneven. Pus oozes from the wound.
Gangrene of the legs
The most serious complication of diabetes mellitus that requires prompt surgery is considered to be leg gangrene. Tissues begin to die off quickly. Following this process, living tissues begin to become infected. There is a possibility of damage to the whole organism. The degree of infection varies: from the moment when a toe turned blue in diabetes mellitus and to the entire lower limb to the knee. In the latter case, amputation becomes inevitable. The development of gangrene is provoked by the following factors:
- Launched atherosclerosis. Tissues need more blood and suffer from a lack of oxygen, so death begins.
- Untreated diabetic foot. Lack of treatment for infected ulcers.
- Polyneuropathy .
- Severe thrombosis.
Usually the path to gangrene begins not for one reason, but because of a number of them.
Sometimes only amputation of the lower limb becomes a necessary measure to continue life. This unpleasant procedure occurs when the patient does not follow the rules of foot care and stops regulating the glycemic level. Negligence has dire consequences. A leg can be amputated in the following cases:
- strong pathologies in the vessels;
- complete tissue necrosis;
- nerve endings are affected, they are no longer able to function.
There are several degrees of amputation:
- the entire foot is removed completely;
- the lower section is amputated by separating the small and tibia from each other ;
- elimination of the knee;
- removal of the infected area in the thigh;
- isolation of dead areas in the hip joints;
- complete amputation of the thigh.
When the amputation is done, doctors try to eliminate the inflammation. The wounds are being treated. Next, a course of special exercises to restore mobility begins.
Diabetic foot examinations
There are several ways to diagnose a diabetic foot:
- palpation of the lower extremities, analysis of the appearance of the feet;
- a blood test for biochemistry and general;
- Analysis of urine;
- chest x-ray;
- Ultrasound of the heart;
- appointment with an endocrinologist.
The presence of wounds and ulcers involves taking a smear. Other studies take place as needed.
Treatment of feet with diabetes
It is strongly recommended to consult a specialist for treatment. First of all, the following symptoms are eliminated:
- Puffiness in the lower limbs is removed. Selection of high-quality footwear suitable for the foot. In addition, special food is prescribed.
- Reduced pain. Various drugs are prescribed: against seizures, thioctic acid, B vitamins.
- Wounds and other skin defects are healed. Treatment of the skin with agents from microbes and fungus.
- Surgery. Sometimes bypass surgery or other surgeries are needed to improve blood circulation.
Many resort to using folk remedies: specially prepared baths with the addition of herbs and infusions so that the blood begins to circulate more actively. Clove oil lotions also have a positive effect .
What to do if a leg turns black with diabetes
Patients with diabetes mellitus often face darkening of the leg. This can happen for the following reasons:
- A neglected fungus.
- Disturbances in the vessels. Thrombosis .
- Shoes unsuitable for diabetic feet.
In case of blackening of the leg with diabetes, urgent measures must be taken. Make an ultrasound examination of the vessels in the legs, take a biopsy on the damaged areas.
To prevent dire consequences, it is required to follow the rules for caring for the lower extremities:
- monitor the condition of the legs, regularly examine the feet.
- wash your feet as often as possible;
- get rid of corns and corns immediately after they appear;
- carefully cut your nails without cutting to the very root;
- do not walk barefoot;
- do not forget about preventive measures to prevent fungal infections;
- eliminate all bad habits;
- buy suitable shoes, carefully choosing the size;
- purchase special insoles designed for diabetics.
Adhering to these rules, it is easier to avoid the severe consequences of diabetes.
Ointments and creams for feet
There are many different helpers on the market for dealing with diabetic foot, for example, creams and ointments:
- Dia Ultraderm ;
- Zinc ointment;
- Diaultraderm Silver ;
- Caremed ;
- Heel-cream ;
- Virta ;
- GEHWOL med ;
- Baehr ;
- All creams and ointments with the addition of urea.
Creams and ointments aimed at preventing foot diseases in diabetes mellitus have special requirements:
- a large amount of essential vitamins;
- antifungal focus;
- fighting bacteria;
- effect on the regeneration of the skin;
- positive effect on blood circulation.
Rules for applying creams
The funds are rubbed in lightly, with light movements without pressure. The skin should be cleaned and dried before the procedure. Apply the ointment to the shins too. It is necessary to apply creams and ointments regularly, several times every day. Follow instructions for use.
Diabetes mellitus is a serious medical condition. You can not delay the trip to a professional, this can lead to the appearance of the most severe complication of diabetes mellitus – gangrene. In case of its neglected state, a lethal outcome is possible.